Drivers’ hours plan splits RHA and FTA

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The relaxation of drivers’ hours rules as a result of Operation Stack has gone too far, the Road Haulage Association has told the Department for Transport. But the Freight Transport Association reckons the change makes “perfect sense”.

The DfT has replaced the EU daily driving limit of 9 hours with one of 11 hours, and reduced the daily rest requirements from 11 to 9 hours. This only applies to drivers using the channel tunnel or ferries through Dover. It applies for the next month.

The RHA sais it welcomed a degree of relaxation of enforcement under the current circumstances. But it said: “The extension of the driving day to 11 hours on its own would have been proportionate and welcome. The extension of the driving day plus the curtailment of the daily rest period is ill-judged and likely to lead to the exploitation of hauliers and their drivers and a reduction in road safety.”

It also wants re-assurance that the relaxation will be respected in practice by enforcement across Europe, without which hauliers run the risk of substantial fines.

But James Firth, the FTA’s head of road freight and enforcement policy said: “This is a proportionate response by the Government to just one aspect among many which have arisen as a result of the problems in Calais. Critically this relaxation means that drivers who have spent many hours queuing on one side of the Channel are not forced to immediately find somewhere safe and secure to park as soon as they have crossed.”

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